For many of us Christmas still seems a long way off but for those who are living in insecure housing, Christmas raises unique challenges for them. Most have no contact with family or friends throughout the year, so this can be a time of great isolation. Gethsemane Community is preparing for 1,100 such people in our upcoming Christmas Project community outreach program. We aim to provide our recipients with:
- Christmas cards from at least eight people
- Christmas presents that will meet some basic human needs and also a little something extra
- Christmas food hampers for groups or individuals as appropriate
The Christmas Project requires a diverse amount of tasks coupled with great organisation in a small house with few staff and faithful volunteers to execute. The existence of it is completely dependent on donations.
The first major task is to have accurate information and this begins in June with phone calls to all the Boarding Houses, aged care facilities, group homes and to organisations that support people with disabilities in their rented rooms and apartments.
From that information, mail labels are developed for the Christmas Cards and gift labels printed which include sufficient information about size, gender and diabetic status of the individual so that the right ‘goodies’ will be put in their bags.
Most of these tasks are carried out at Gethsemane but seven Schools have, between them, taken responsibility for 200 people, they include:
- Corpus Christi Primary, St Ives
- Mount St Joseph, Milperra
- St Pius Primary School, Enmore
- St Brigid’s Primary Marrickville
- Christian Brothers’ High School, Lewisham
- St Therese Primary, Mascot
- Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Primary, Randwick
Each school receives a list of names and suggested gifts, a set of labels and gift bags.
A further twenty two schools, mostly primary, are involved in providing socks and toiletries for Christmas parcels prepared at Gethsemane. These schools have already been contacted to arrange this ongoing process.
Some warehouse shopping for items that are always needed has already begun.